EMVA says machine vision in Europe returns to growth

Results of the current European market survey point to an 11% increase in turnover in 2010 according to the European Machine Vision Association.

“The European machine vision industry is well on track to return to substantial growth this year. Results of our current European market survey point to an 11% increase in turnover in 2010,” EMVA Vice President Cor Maas said at the press conference held by the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA; Frankfurt, Germany) at AUTOMATICA 2010.

The current EMVA forecast for 2010 comes as good news after a difficult year 2009. As a result of the financial and economic crisis, total turnover of machine vision technology in 2009 declined by 21%. “This decrease lies in the corridor of the EMVA forecast published in April of 2009. With over 24%, exports to the Americas saw the sharpest decrease, along with a drop of nearly 22% in European sales. The turnover with Asian countries was somewhat more robust and declined by just under 19%.

Sales to all dominant manufacturing industries for the machine vision industry declined double-digit in 2009. Turnover with the most important customer sector – the automotive industry – went down by 34.2%. Other industries, however, showed only a smaller decrease in turnover and thus even managed to increase their share of total machine vision turnover. “The only two sectors where we saw an absolute increase last year are sales to the semiconductor industry and the whole sector of non-manufacturing industries. The growth in the semiconductor industry was boosted by the photovoltaic industry. Non-manufacturing applications, in the areas of life sciences, security, medical engineering, entertainment, sports, and intelligent traffic systems, continue to gain in importance. Here we see a large potential for growth in new applications of machine vision technology,” Cor Maas said.

The decrease within the product types ranged between 12.7% for other vision accessories and 28.1% for smart cameras. Sales of application-specific vision systems – which have the highest share of total turnover – decreased by 22.3%, and turnover of cameras went down by 20.5%.

3D metrology is the big winner in applications in 2009. Its share of total turnover by applications rose by 8 percentage points to 19% last year,” Cor Maas added. “This is a development we expect to continue. 3D cameras and 3D applications will become more and more important.” On the other hand, discrete inspection of piece parts is the application that saw the sharpest decrease. While it remains the most important application, its share of total turnover went down from 52% in 2008 to 37% in 2009.

Looking at the expectations for the current year, another indicator shows good growth prospects: After a sharp two-digit decline in world machinery sales, the turnover in this industry worldwide is currently forecast to grow by 9% in 2010. “This points to a favourable business climate in the traditional industrial application areas of machine vision. The increasing use of machine vision technology in new application fields will further drive demand,” according to Cor Maas.

Posted by Vision Systems Design

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